Payment Fraud


Payment fraud happens when someone uses information from your checks, credit and debit cards, or any other form of payment without your knowledge to commit fraud or steal your money.


Skimming: In this scam, thieves attach electronic devices called skimmers to ATMs in order to record the data from the magnetic strip on the back of your card. A tiny camera is often hidden near a skimmer to record your PIN as it is entered. The thieves then use all of the information they have gathered to manufacture counterfeit cards, make purchases and withdraw funds from your accounts. Skimming devices come in many forms and can be hard to detect.

Watch as three men distract the store clerk and place card (reader) skimmer on ATM Point-of-Sale Machine.

Cash trapping: A blocking device is inserted into an ATM card slot, so your card appears to become stuck. If you go inside the bank to report the problem, thieves remove the blocking device and withdraw money. In another variation, a “Good Samaritan” offers assistance, but they are actually watching and memorizing your PIN number.

Protect Yourself:

  • Look at the Machine: Inspect the ATM before use. If anything looks loose, fits poorly or otherwise suspicious, do not use it. Pay careful attention to what the card reader and keypad normally look like on the ATMs you use most frequently.
  • Choose Wisely: Look around and observe your surroundings -When possible, avoid using machines that are unfamiliar to you and opt for secure ATM machines under video surveillance or inside of a building. They’re less likely to be tampered with. Don’t use an ATM machine if someone is lingering nearby or seems suspicious.
  • Make sure people waiting behind you to use the ATM can’t see you entering your PIN or transaction amount. Cover the keypad as you enter your PIN to thwart hidden cameras.
  • Don’t leave your keys or valuables in your car when using an ATM, and don’t leave your car engine running
  • Always protect your ATM/debit card and keep it in a safe place. Don’t share your PIN with anyone, and don’t write it down anywhere, especially on your card.

Contact us immediately if an ATM machine appears suspicious, if it does not prompt you to enter your PIN code, confiscates your card or if it does not function properly. Check the withdrawal and deposit amounts on your ATM receipts. If there is a problem with the amount, contact us immediately.


Counterfeit checks – Checks are reproduced, utilizing information from legitimate accounts, usually by means of high quality copiers, scanners or desktop publishing software. Counterfeit checks have varying degrees of quality, with some instances being almost identical replicas to the original check, including the check stock itself.

Altered checks – Checks that have been altered in some way with chemicals or other means so that the valid information can be erased and the checks can be re-written.

Forged signatures – Typically blank checks that have been obtained by the fraudster and then signed with a false signature or valid checks that have been endorsed and cashed by someone other than the payee. Never sign a blank check.

Only send checks to charities with which you are familiar.


Both wire and ACH (automated clearing house) transactions are forms of electronic fund transfers (EFTs). Wire transfers are done in real-time and ACH transfers are not. Wire transfers typically involve larger sums of money, are transferring money from one bank to another bank, and are more expensive to do. ACH transfers typically involve smaller amounts of money, take longer to process, and are less expensive to do. Payroll deposits and online bill payments are examples of ACH transactions.

Wire and/or ACH fraud occur when a fraudster uses one of these transfer methods to obtain money based on false representation or promises. For example, you may purchase an item on an online auction site, wire the money to the seller and either never get the item or receive an item of a lower value than was advertised.

Another common type of wire/ACH fraud involves what appears to be an email from a friend stranded in a foreign country after being robbed. This “friend” asks you to wire them money so they can get home. Phishing and malware are often used to obtain your bank logon credentials. Once the fraudster has these, they can wire money out of your account and into his/hers or use your money to initiate payments for his/her own bills.


Card fraud is theft and fraud committed using a credit or debit card. The fraudster may use the card to obtain products or services or to withdraw money from your account. Credit and debit card information is most often obtained through phishing (all forms) and skimming. You may click on a link in an email that downloads malware onto your computer. The malware will then enable the fraudster to steal your logon credentials the next time you log into online banking.


Protect Yourself:

  • Online Bill Pay. Don’t leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox for pickup -take them to a postal mailbox or sign up for our free Online Banking and pay your bills electronically. The bill amount is taken directly from your checking account.
  • Online Banking and Mobile Banking – Carefully monitor your accounts for unauthorized charges. Report any discrepancies to us immediately.
  • Install a firewall on your computer to prevent unauthorized access. Install and run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer and keep them up-to-date.
  • Trust who you give your card number to. Make online purchases only from trusted Web sites. If you have questions about a company, you can check them out with the Better Business Bureau. Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you initiated the call and are dealing with a trusted source.
  • Protect your personal identification number (PIN), user ID and passwords. Never allow the cashier or any other person to enter your PIN for you, even if they are assisting you with the transaction. No one should ask you for your PIN, including representatives from Monroe Bank & Trust. When selecting a PIN, do not use your initials, birth date, telephone number, or Social Security number. Memorize your PIN. If you must write down your PIN, do not keep it in your wallet, purse, or on the card itself.
  • Know where your cards are at all times, and never leave your wallet or purse unattended – even for a minute. Be suspicious if a store employee takes your card out of your sight in order to process your transaction, asks you to swipe your card through more than one machine. Be sure to get your card back when you use it for purchases.
  • Keep all checks, credit and debit cards in a safe place. Report lost or stolen debit/ATM cards within two business days. If you lose your debit/ATM card (or other access device) report it immediately.
  • Do not put your Social Security number, driver’s license number, telephone number, or credit card number on your checks.
  • Never access your bank account using a public computer (e.g., at the library or a hotel business office).
  • Always sign the back of your cards when they arrive in the mail.
  • Keep a list of all your card numbers and account information in a secure place.
  • Shred sensitive data: Shred credit card applications you may receive in the mail. Shred old checks, ATM receipts, statements and any documents containing personal information before discarding them.
  • Review your credit reports frequently to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. Work with the credit reporting agencies to have any inaccurate information removed.

Protect yourself from fraudulent transactions:

Person to person sales are increasing, and along with that so are the risks. Scenario: You place an ad to sell a car, jewelry, motorcycle, etc. An interested buyer contacts you to purchase these items and a price is agreed upon. You are given a check that may say “Cashier’s Check” or “Official Check,” however, when this check is presented to your financial institution for negotiation, you are informed the check is counterfeit.

In a similar scam the purchaser will send the seller a “Cashier’s Check” or “Official Check” for more than the agreed upon purchase price. The purchaser will then request the overpayment be sent back via wire transfer. After the wire transfer is sent, the check is returned as counterfeit. By that time, you are out the merchandise and the additional money.

Before turning over any merchandise to a purchaser make sure the check you have received is a valid item by verifying the check with the bank the check is drawn on. Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.

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